If you think that paving the way to a sustainable energy future is a challenge, just imagine what it would be like without International Standards.

The May 2011 edition of ISO Focus+ – the magazine of ISO (International Organization for Standardization), draws attention to this issue by looking at some of the key standards that provide the indispensable practical details needed to leverage solutions in the fields of climate change, energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

The magazine underlines the important role of energy efficiency in tackling today’s rising oil prices and climate change. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency offers a powerful and cost-effective tool for achieving a sustainable energy future.

Improvements in energy efficiency can reduce the need for investment in energy infrastructure, cut fuel costs, increase competitiveness and improve consumer welfare. Environmental benefits can also be achieved by the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and local air pollution. Energy security also profits from improved energy efficiency by decreasing the reliance on imported fossil fuels.

To this end, the May 2011 ISO Focus+ issue raises awareness of International Standards as part of the solution to today’s energy issues. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) publication, Energy Efficiency: Accelerating the Agenda: “The challenge is that as demand increases and new technology comes online, energy efficiency goal posts need to keep moving – International Standards can help to support this movement.”

In the May 2011 ISO Focus+, ISO Deputy Secretary General Kevin McKinley explains the growing realization that market and stakeholder-based solutions, such as ISO International Standards, can lead by example and point directions for a more prosperous and sustainable future.

Mr. McKinley emphasizes that sustainable development is a high priority for ISO – highlighting the establishment of a Task Force on the subject and ISO’s involvement in the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012.

The May 2011 ISO Focus+ issue brings together a portfolio of articles from a diverse range of subjects: electric cars, energy efficiency of buildings, general energy terminology, the carbon footprint standard (the future ISO 14067) and energy management systems (the future ISO 50001). It also features a case study from the US Department of Energy (DoE) which has been supporting pilot implementation programmes by US industrial companies based on ISO 50001, Energy management, in order to encourage energy efficient manufacturing, and promote verifiable improvements in energy performance.

Last, but not least, new committees dealing with energy-related issues created by ISO such as sustainability criteria for bioenergy, energy savings and energy efficiency of industrial furnaces are also discussed.

This month's dossier hones in on what ISO is doing for energy efficiency, and why standards are first-rate tools to help meet the international clean energy and climate change challenges.

The issue features an exclusive interview with Carole Le Gall, the Chief Executive Director of the Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB), an independent public body in the building innovation industry, which relies considerably on standards.

ISO Focus+, May 2011

Future energy